Patience & Fortitude


Did you know that Patience and Fortitude are the names of the lions who adorn the entrance to the main branch of the New York Public Library?  I learned that from Salvatore Rubbino's A Walk In New York which I borrowed (with my son) from . . . the library.

I have mixed feelings about the library which mostly amount to feeling fussy about due dates and fines.  In college, senior year, you could keep the books for the entire semester unless someone else requested one and then you'd be notified to return in - that seemed so fair and sensible to me! Also, in college, the books were organized according to the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) as opposed to the (highly inferior) Dewey Decimal Classification (DCC)(don't even get me started!!).  So, as a young adult person (read: in my 20's) in NYC, I tried the library, but we quickly fell into conflict and I took to buying my books or borrowing them from friends and that worked out great . . . until I had a kid.

There are just too many not-very-long and maybe-not-that-great books for kids to go around buying every single one that interests you.  I feel lucky to have a kid who loves books and reading almost as much as I do, so we enjoy visiting the library every few weeks to expand our repertoire.  When we find one we *really* love, we return it and make the investment.

The other thing I used to do as a young adult person in NYC, was kill time reading children's books at whatever book store was nearest where I needed to be.  A lot of children's books are really mediocre but the good ones are such a pleasure.

So, whether you have a kid or whether you are just killing time somewhere, I encourage you to check out these very recent discoveries (via the library!) which I could happily read a zillion times each.

13 Words by Lemony Snickett - A despondent bird, a haberdashery, a mezzo-soprano . . . I get the nerd-tingles just thinking about it.

Inventor McGreggor by Kathleen T. Pelley - That joyful feeling you had as a kid from believing in magic?  This book makes you feel that way about believing in yourself.

Uncle Elephant by Arnold Lobel - Arnold Lobel wrote the Frog & Toad books and so many others for kids of a certain age. This one feels so extra-special; Lobel writes about difficult feelings with gentle candor and without embellishing them with interpretation or solutions. Read this before you share it with kids you know, but read it for yourself for sure.